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1968 320A/BP worth restoring?

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  • #16
    That makes sense, thanks for the info. It still has his stencil that he used for his business logo. Did not know if needed to be magnetic. Appreciate all the help on this forum!


    • #17
      Another vote for keep it and use it. I have a 1963 Airco 300, basically a rebadged version of the same machine. It's 900 lbs of awesome. Your machine looks terrific. Go forth and run it!


      • #18
        8wire, you fell into some good stuff there. I like that tracer. Seems like the only thing I ever fall into is dookie.


        • #19
          I knew someone smelled like poo around here....


          • #20
            Cheers jrd, I hope people have as much confidence in me as you do in the machine when I'm that old.


            • #21
              Finally got the Wilson Hornet into the shed with power. Its heavier than it looks, is completely impossible to lift and I had to get it down a step and up a step which took 45 min and broke a 2x4 I was using as a lever. I now know why the old owners left if behind!

              Plugged it in about 9pm just to see what happens. It makes a buzzing noise but nothing else. At this stage I'm not sure if it is plugged into a 220v outlet or 3 phase and thats the problem or if something else is wrong with the machine (I have zero experience with 3 phase and am not sure what is what in the sheds power system yet). I did verify the circuit breaker is 2x50amp breakers and that is the only outlet that matches the plug, being so large its got to be the place it was used. At some point i will open it up and give it a clean, see if anything obvious is broken. Ill get the miller wired during the week and see if that will run on the same outlet. I do hope the hornet works, it only has 4 switches; on/off, motor/generator and polarity. Thats my kind of machine. Did I mention it weighs a literal ton?

              Little slow on the progress but my wife has a weird belief that installing floors in the house was more important than testing the welders... appreciate all the help and comments.
              Cheers, Lewis


              • #22
                Ha! I guess you know what side your toast is butter on!

                Might be all that miniature tank does is hum. I have no idea. Does it have leads? Try and strike an arc with it. And I agree, the simpler the better. Be neat to find what year the machine is.

                Before you plug in that big miller, I would verify the voltage at the plug and double check that the machine set up inside for whatever you’re about to put to it. When you fire her up, you should hear a very audible click from the relay(s) inside and the cooling fan the size of a Volkswagen should immediately kick in drawing air from the bottom of the cabinet and out the back.

                And then do your happy dance.


                • #23
                  The wilson has leads but i havent looked at how to connect them yet. It also only makes a noise when I hold the start button in and my understanding is that it is supposed to be very loud.
                  Thanks for the advice. I was hoping that troubleshooting the Wilson first would tell me whether or not the receptacle im plugging into is 3 phase or not. Right now im not sure so im trying to figure out how to work that out.

                  The shop has 3 phase and a bunch of the 4 prong plugs. This one is only 3 prong like a big dryer plug, but the Wilson has a 3 prong plug and says its a three phase machine so that must have been a thing at some point in time. It is also entirely possible that either the electrical system isn't working, its a 220v single phase recptical not 3 phase or the wilson is just dead.

                  More to follow.....


                  • #24
                    A couple months ago I move an old colchester lathe into the machine shop, it’s a 3-ph machine and it only has three wires coming out of it. To test it, I plugged it into 1-ph 220 and the center leg I came in with a single 115v and everything powered up. No neutral or ground. Outside of that, I have no idea what you’d need. You should probably test the socket and see what you have there. If you have three hots, then you have your answer. You’ll need a meter like a DMM to do that.


                    • #25
                      The Hornet is a rotary machine, and the motor should start spinning when you turn the power on. If it just hums, either the bearings are seized, there is a problem with the motor, or (most likely) you don't have all three phases of power fed to it. Three phase motors count on the "rotation" of the power phases to get them started--lose a phase, and they won't go.

                      If you have a multimeter, measure the voltage between two of the phases, and the voltage to ground from each phase. Can you post a pic of the power receptacles? Some old equipment did not have a "green ground" wire--not safe, and you should add one even if you have to tape a separate piece of wire to the power cable and connect it with screws to the chassis of the welder and ground at the receptacle box. I'm guessing you have 120/208 wye power, but that is only a guess. Thus, you should see 208 volts (approx) between each pair of hot wires, and 120 approx to ground and neutral from each phase. If not, needs some more exploration. 3-phase wye connections have three hots and a neutral, which is grounded.


                      • #26
                        Gentlemen, thanks for the replies.
                        I am convinced that I plugged the Wilson into a single phase 220 outlet.
                        1. It looks like it, three prong.
                        2. It has 2x50 amp CBs associated with it. According to google the three phase would need 3 CBs, I have three triple CBs in my panel and these should correspond to the receptacles that are legit 4 prong 3 phase plugs.
                        3. The miller is set up for 230 and it is directly in front of this plug. I attempted to move the miller a quarter inch with my shoulder so I could get into the back panel and the machine audibly laughed at me. That makes me think no one has moved it and it is in fact sitting in front of its outlet.
                        Now i just need to clean it, wire the plug on and test it. I'm confident that is correct.

                        Whats confusing is that the Wilson has a three prong plug and similar to what Ryan says above has 3 wires in its power cord (big wires though) (the three prong plug is noticeably newer than the machine, not original, and is what i plan to use for the miller). So I have to figure out how to wire the wilson to a regular 3 phase 4 prong plug and still be safe. That way I can plug it into my 3 phase system, which should be good. I cant figure out why the wilson has the plug on it that it does. Maybe someone at some point didn't realize it was three phase and just chucked a plug on and hoped for the best?

                        I somewhat followed what Aeronca was saying about rewiring but i'll need to explore more. Not going to lie, messing with electrical components scares me. But it would be awesome to get BOTH machines working.

                        Took pics this morning and will post pictures of the plugs shortly.


                        • #27
                          I'd assume someone had no idea what it was, and was hoping putting a plug on it would make it work.

                          Yes, three phase needs three breakers. If it only has two breakers, it's single-phase.

                          If you don't know what kind of 3-phase service you have, you should measure your single-phase outlet to see if it has 230V or 208V, and wire the miller accordingly. The miller is a single-phase machine, and should be wired for the correct line-to-line voltage of your service. Whether you have 208V or 230V to it will depend on what kind of service you have. In many areas, you'll have 208V not 230V line-to-line, where each line to neutral measures 120V, while in some areas (for example, where I am), wild-leg delta is standard, and line-to-line is 230V, with two line-to-neutral of 120V and one of 208V that you can't use.

                          The plugs should say whether they're single or three phase, usually with a full rating (i.e. 125/250V 50A 1ph) or a nema number (i.e. 14-50) you can look up. This does not mean they're actually wired for what they say, of course - getting something working often takes priority over ordering the correct plug, even to the detriment of safety.


                          • #28
                            It is possible the original wire used a metal conduit as it’s housing and the conduit was used as the bond to the machine. That would leave only three wires hanging out. And don’t let the color fool you.


                            • #29
                              Here are the plugs I'm looking at. The 200ish receptacle (connected to two 50a breakers, says 250v on it), I don't have a multimeter but ill find one to fine tune the settings on the miller as bushytails suggests (208vs230v). Until then im going to plug it in to check it works.

                              The plug in my hand is what was on the 3 phase wilson. Im planning on taking that off and putting on the miller since it is much newer than the plug I have for it.

                              Forth picture is the 3 phase receptacle (connected to 3x30a breakers says 3 phase 230v on it) with four prongs that I will have to figure out how to connect to with the 3 strand 3 phase from the wilson that you can see in the pic of the plug.

                              Ryan, a couple of other tools here look like they were shielded with steel on the cords so you could be right. I don't see color too well so it won't fool me.


                              • #30
                                The voltage rating on the receptacle or plug is just a maximum that it's rated for. The configuration of a "250V" device is correct for very common 208V or 240V actual applications.

                                Flexible metallic conduit is an acceptable ground conductor up to 6' in length. Rigid conduit or tubing is an acceptable ground conductor at any length. So such installations might not have a visible grounding wire, but still be grounded.

                                The first receptacle in your picture is a NEMA 10-50R and is actually not designed to be used with a separate grounding conductor. It's made for electric ranges back when they were designed with their neutral wire bonded to the chassis and it served as both neutral and ground. Yes, you can use it as a "240V w/ ground" device and the electricity doesn't know the difference, but it's the configuration of "120/240V w/o ground." It should not be hooked up as a 3-phase installation because the center pin is universally known (and marked) as a neutral conductor, not a phase conductor.

                                A good electrician is usually worth his service call fee.
                                Last edited by MAC702; 06-29-2020, 06:34 PM.